Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday in Easter 4: You are what you worship

Opening Sentence
Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
Commemoration: The Early Abbots of Cluny
O God, by whose grace your servants the Holy Abbots of Cluny, kindled with the flame of your love, became burning and shining lights in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Psalter: Psalm 41, 52

Lessons: Exodus 32:1-20, Colossians 3:18-4:18, Matthew 5:1-10

I have long believed the adage, "You are what you worship." Whatever you establish in your life as your god, you will eventually become like it. When the Israelites grew weary of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain they rebelled against God and created for themselves a golden calf to worship. When Moses finally did come down, the Israelites were behaving like the animal they were worshiping. The same is true whenever people turn from the worship of the living God and turn instead to the worship of created things.

Psalm 135.15-18 confirms this:

The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but do not speak;
they have eyes, but do not see;
they have ears, but do not hear,
nor is there any breath in their mouths.
Those who make them become like them,
so do all who trust in them!

It is sheer folly on the part of fallen human beings to think we can create a god in our own image. The end result is not a living god who frees us to become all we were intended to be, but a mute, blind, deaf idol who enslaves us to our basest instincts and vilest passions. The god we thought we had created in our image conforms us, instead, to its image: mute, blind, deaf, and dead!

Conversely, when we turn from false idols to the true and living God, worshiping him in spirit and in truth, loving him with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength, we become like him: holy, righteous, loving, and truly alive!

Indeed, we are what we worship. Whether or not we worship the Creator or the creature, we cannot ultimately escape the reality that we are created beings who bear the image of Whoever or whatever we place at the center of our lives.

Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God